2013 Young Architects Award

The American Institute of Architects () has selected fifteen recipients to receive the 2013  Young Architects Award. Defined as professionals who have been licensed ten years or fewer, the Young Architects will be honored for making significant contributions to the profession and providing exceptional leadership. The recipients will be presented the award at the  2013 National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver, Colorado.

The complete list of the 2013 Young Architects:

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The 30 Architecture Docs To Watch In 2013

With awards season in full swing, Hollywood’s sparkly razamtaz occupies our television screens. But what about the unsung, architectural heros of ?  What about the films that are less ‘Schindler’s List’ and more ‘Schindlers Hauser’, less ‘Wrath Of Kahn’ and more ‘Louis Kahn’.  We look past the panoply of stars to bring you 30 of the best Architecture which will provoke, intrigue and beguile in 2013.

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Rethinking Kala Nagar Traffic Junction

Andres Perez and Team – Student Category; Image Courtesy of BMW Guggenheim Lab

Mumbai, like many populous modern cities, has a traffic problem that may be better be categorized as a traffic nightmare.  At the Kala Nagar Junction, where five main traffic arteries merge to connect nearly 60,000 commuters per hour from the Island City to the western suburbs of Mumbai, the BMW Guggenheim Lab and Mumbai Environmental Social Network launched a competition to search for realistic solutions to the infrastructural tangle.  Likely designed when traffic congestion was not as severe, the Kala Nagar Junction is no longer capable of accommodating the daily commuter demand.  The competition, open to students and professionals, called on participants to consider solutions that not only resolved the traffic problems, but also produced public spaces and safe pedestrian routes.  The six winning designs – 3 from the professional category, 2 from the student category and 1 people’s choice that was decided by community votes and visitors to the Guggenheim Design Lab. 

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adAPT NYC Competition Announces Micro Apartment Winner and Finalists

adAPT NYC Winner / Monadnock Development LLC, Actors Fund Development Corporation, and nARCHITECTS; Images via CURBED

In an effort to address housing concerns throughout the city, held the adAPT NYC Competition in search for a micro-unit apartment building that would be developed into a new housing model for the “small household population”.  The winner and five finalists were announced earlier this week, revealing a sharp focus on consolidating various living areas to save space and resolving to give multi-functionality where ever possible.  There is also an emphasis on community in each of the proposals, making up for the small units with more public amenities within the building.  Join us after the break to take a closer look at the projects.

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GRAPHISOFT’s EcoDesigner Star

Courtesy of

GRAPHISOFT has developed another tool for your BIM toolbox. This tool – the EcoDesigner Star – creates a streamlined analysis workflow. Essentially – architects can use their ArchiCAD BIM as a Building Model (BEM).

What does this mean for designers and energy consultants? Implementing BIM in your everyday design practice already requires less timeto complete and deliver an architectural project. Now, with EcoDesigner Star coordination and collaboration are further enhanced as those processes are shortened and more productive. Additionally, EcoDesigner Star offers standard-compliant energy analyses on the BEM and produces a detailed building performance report, all within the familiar ArchiCAD design environment. EcoDesigner supports authoring tools in ArchiCAD by fully inegrating energy evaluation and reporting, according to international energy standards into the BIM.

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Planetario Galileo Galilei Gets Inflatable Headphones

Courtesy of SONY

To commemorate the first edition of “Silent Day,” a fabricated holiday by Sony Argentina that celebrated the release of new Sony headphones, the Planetario Galileo Galilei was given headphones in an effort to change the cold and solid appearance of the buildng into a fun, cartoonish personage. Designed by architect Enrique Jan in 1967, some would argue that one should not use these highlights of modernism for lousy advertising. Although, we all know that brands like to use the urban space as a canvas for their messages, so why not do it in a funny way? More images and information after the break. (more…)

Koolhaas Reveals Title for 2014 Venice Biennale

Image via Instagram User Josephgrima http://instagram.com/p/U6DMbxNuK4/

At a presentation in Italy this morning, Rem Koolhaas announced that the title of the 2014 will be “Fundamentals.” According to Domus magazine’s live-tweeting of the eventKoolhaas wants this Biennale, which he will curate, to use historical research to explore how Modernity and globalization has, since 1914, formed the architecture we practice today. The Biennale will focus on the erasure of national architectural identities and the formation, over the last 200 years, of a global architecture which produces, in Koolhaas’ words, “the same stuff, with the same materials, in the same styles. How did this happen?” 

Read more about Koolhaas’ 2014 Biennale topic, after the break…

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Herzog & de Meuron to Design Residential High-Rise in London

© David Iliff via Wikipedia

An impressive team has been pieced together by Canary Wharf Group to design portions of the first phase for the Wood Wharf development in London’s major business district of Tower Hamlets. Already home to some of the ’s tallest buildings, Canary Wharf has announced its plan to add a Herzog & de Meuron-designed residential high-rise to its glowing skyline on a redeveloped eight-hectare site.

Ascan Mergenthaler, senior partner at Herzog & de Meuron stated, “The new high-rise building will mediate between the city and the individual, the public and private, and will inject a new component of daily residential life into the evolving mixed-use Canary Wharf district. It will be both a symbol and the heart of the new Wood Wharf urban quarter, an extension of a dynamic global community and the start of a new vibrant neighborhood.”

See who else has been commissioned to partake in the first phase of the Canary Wharf development after the break. (more…)

The Design Implications of President Obama’s Commitment to Climate Change and Sustainable Energy

January 21, 2013, Inaugural Speech; Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

This past Monday, President Obama made climate change and sustainable the focal points of his Inaugural Address when he declared that choosing to ignore these key environmental issues “would betray our children and future generations.” This is the first time in the last few months that the President has taken a firm stand for the future of our Earth, a direct result of Super Storm Sandy and a smart choice to reveal controversial policies only after re-election. Although Monday morning was not the time to outline a specific political strategy, President Obama made it very clear that this time around, denial of scientific judgment and Congressional opposition would not be reasons for failure to act.

Since this is a sentiment easier said than done, there is doubtlessly a long and difficult road ahead for the President and his administration. The White House has revealed that it plans to focus on what it can do to capitalize on natural gas production as an alternative to coal, on “reducing emissions from power plants, [increasing] the efficiency of home appliances and [on having] the federal government itself produce less carbon pollution” (NYTimes). According to the Times, they aim to adopt new energy efficiency standards for not only home appliances but for buildings as well, something that should spark the interests of architects and urban planners already committed to designing with climate change and sustainable energy in mind.

More after the break…

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Chicago’s Cook County Aims to Eradicate Demolition Waste

Image via Cook County

Cook County, Illinois, recently brought the elimination of construction waste to a new level by creating the first demolition debris ordinance in the Midwest. This groundbreaking ordinance requires most of the debris created from demolition to be recycled and reused instead of being sent to the landfill. The ordinance helps contribute to Cook County’s zero waste goal, part of the Update.

The new law states that at least 7 percent of suburban construction and demolition debris must be recycled, and an additional 5 percent must be reused on residential properties. This new legislation will have a great impact as it affects about 2.5 million suburban Cook County residents.

More after the break…

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Post-Traumatic Design: How to Design Our Schools to Heal Past Wounds and Prevent Future Violence

Rendering for the New Utoya Project in Norway, which will re-design the Utøya Island where the 2011 massacre took place. Image courtesy of Fantastic Norway.

Over a month has passed since the tragedy. Its surviving students have gone back to school, albeit at another facility (decorated with old posters to make it feel familiar), and are working on putting this tragic event behind them. The nation is similarly moving on – but this time, with an eye to action. 

The goal is obvious: to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again. The means, less so. While President Obama’s recent gun control policy offers some solutions, it’s by no means the only way. Indeed, opinions vary – from clamping down on gun control, to better addressing the root cause of mental illness, to even arming teachers in the classroom.

The design world has similarly contributed to the debate. A recent article in ArchRecord questioned how, in the wake of Sandy Hook, we should design our schools: “While fortress-like buildings with thick concrete walls, windows with bars, and special security vestibules may be more defensible than what is currently in vogue, they are hardly the kind of places that are optimal for learning.”Indeed, turning a school into a prison would be the design equivalent of giving a teacher a rifle. You would, of course, have a more “secure” environment – but at what cost?

As America and the world considers how we can move on after these traumas, I’d like to take a moment to consider what role design could play. If the answer is not to turn our schools into prisons, then what is? Can design help address the root causes of and make our schools less vulnerable to tragedy? If so, how?

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The Indicator: Architecture and Crime

© The “Real McCoy”. Courtesy, ZHA / Wangjing Soho

From the recent information overload concerning ’s Wangjing Soho being pirated in China, one might think that copying was a new phenomenon in architecture. Is this really that shocking or even worth mentioning?

It must be because, for the next few hundred words or so, I’m going to be mentioning it quite a bit. Copying can be a complicated issue. In Western culture, in particular, the status of the copy is fraught with contradictions. It is a problem that has existed since long before Walter Benjamin wrote about it in “The Work of Art in the Age of the Mechanical Reproduction”.

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AZPA to Transform Nineteenth Century Building into Locarno Film Festival Headquarters

© AZPA

and Barcelona-based practice AZPA (Alejandro Zaera-Polo Architecture) has been announced as winner of an international competition aimed to establish a permanent residence for the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland. Breaking away from the starchitect notion of needing to make an “extravagant gesture”, AZPA’s innovative proposal partakes in an act of “urban recycling” by reusing the pre-existent, nineteenth century structure of Piazza Castello and transforming its interior courtyard into three sizable theaters. Additionally, a complimentary renovation will take place on the surrounding Piazza Remo Rossi, which will be repaved with red natural stone that essentially provides a “permanent red carpet” qualified to host an array of festival related events.

As Architect Alejandro Zaera-Polo describes: “I do not want to redraw the city, but keep the city.”

AZPA’s winning design not only preserves and capitalizes on the existing integrity of the city, but the strategies employed makes this an economically viable solution. With an estimated price tag of 28 million Swiss Francs, this renovation is said to be no more than the cost of a complete demolition.

More on AZPA’s winning proposal after the break. 

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AWP to announce masterplan for La Défense

© Anna Positano

La Défense, Paris’ major business district, is about to undergo a transformation with the help of Paris architecture firm AWP. ’s plan was presented to government agencies EPADESA and DEFACTO as well as local communities in November 2012, but will be released to the public for the first time in March. The proposed plan not only updates and adds to the current site: it rethinks and reevaluates what already exists.

More on AWP’s master plan for Le Défense after the break.

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ABI Reports Five Consecutive Months of Growth

December 2012 via Calculated Risk

Concluding 2012 with strong business conditions, the December Architecture Billings Index (ABI) marks five consecutive months of growth with a score of 52.0. Released by the American Institute of Architects (), the ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity that reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. By remaining above 50, December’s score reflects an increase in demand for design services. However, growth is slightly slower than the previous month, whose mark at 53.2 brought the strongest business conditions since 2007. Additionally, the new projects inquiry index remains in positive territory with a score of 59.4, also down slightly from the 59.6 mark of November.

A five-month run of growth is a trend that has repeated itself since 2010. However, analysts are optimistic. Growth in 2012 began earlier in the year, picking up speed in early August rather than late Fall.

“While it’s not an across the board recovery, we are hearing a much more positive outlook in terms of demand for design services,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “Moving into 2013 we are expecting this trend to continue and conditions improve at a slow and steady rate.  That said, we remain concerned that continued uncertainty over the outcomes of budget sequestration and the debt ceiling could impact further economic growth.”

View the ABI highlights in greater detail, after the break… (more…)

Public Architecture’s 1% Program Provides Projects for Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity; el dorado architects

Public Architecture is an organization with a simple goal: to address public interest through architecture and solve problems of human interaction within the built environment.  The San Francisco based non-profit was established in 2002 and in its past ten years it has served as a forum for public discourse, education and advocacy for the design of public spaces and amenities.  In 2005 it launched its 1% program, a now nationally recognized portfolio of pro-bono work by architects and firms ready to donate 1% of their year’s billable hours to provide work for nonprofit organizations requesting a variety of services that strengthen their architectural identity and community impact.  To date, there are 1100 firms registered with the 1% program.

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Mayor Bloomberg Announces Winner of adAPT NYC Competition

“My Micro NY” Winter © nycmayorsoffice/Flickr

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced the winner of adAPT NYC - a city-sponsored competition that challenged developer-led teams to design an innovative micro-apartment that responds to 21st century problems. With an all time high of 8.4 million people, and an expected million more by 2030, New York City’s shortfall of affordable one and two person apartments is continuing to grow at a staggering rate. In an effort to solve this imbalance, the winner of adAPT NYC will build an experimental project on a piece of city-owned land in Kips Bay, Manhattan, that has been alleviated from the 1987 density restriction that requires all new apartments to be greater than 400 square feet.

“The growth rate for one- and two-person households greatly exceeds that of households with three or more people, and addressing that housing challenge requires us to think creatively and beyond our current regulations,” said Bloomberg.

So, who won adAPT NYC? Find out after the break!

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Zaha Hadid Receives Aenne Burda Award for Creative Leadership

© Simone Cecchetti

Zaha Hadid‘s success has been highlighted by yet another award. The Iraqi-born, world-renowned architect was honored with the yesterday, January 21, at the international DLD (Digital-Life-Design) Conference in Munich. Since 2006, this annual award has honored female digital entrepreneurs for their visionary and successful ideas. Past recipients include The Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, former journalist and Wall Street technology analyst Esther Dyson, business magnate Martha Stewart, and more. 

As reported by Herald Online, Rhode Island School of Design president John Maeda stated: “Leaders are needed when times are changing, creative leaders change times themselves. They make things – like Zaha. She’s unafraid to disrupt, she’s very optimistic. Today we celebrate her incredible optimism.”

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